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What are the causes of Restless Leg Syndrome? AnxietyPanda Investigates!

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Restless Leg Syndrome is when you experience an unbearable sensation to move your legs due to twitching, itching and even pain sensations that happen in your legs especially when you are resting or trying to sleep. Just as there is no real cure for anxiety, there is also no real cure for RLS, however, there are many proven treatments that will help you to alleviate or get rid of the symptoms for the duration of the treatment.

But, what are the causes of Restless Leg Syndrome? Is it a random occurrence? Are there underlying causes? Is it hereditary? AnxietyPanda investigated some of the causes of RLS, let’s take a look at the findings!

What are the causes of Restless Leg Syndrome – AnxietyPanda Reports

As we take a look at what are the causes of restless leg syndrome, it is important to know that the condition can be classified in two sections – Primary or Secondary RLS – and the cause will dictate the type you are diagnosed with.

Primary RLS

Primary RLS is also commonly referred to as Idiopathic RLS, where idiopathic simply means – cause unknown (fancy new word of the day!) – and genetics usually have a part to play in its manifestation.

Although it is more common for middle-aged and older people to experience RLS, primary RLS can onset from as early as childhood with sporadic or gradually worsening symptoms as time goes by and is usually a life-long condition for the sufferer. It is generally less severe than Secondary RLS.

As mentioned, there is no cure, but applying certain lifestyle changes will definitely help towards controlling the symptoms.

Secondary RLS

Secondary RLS means the disorder is caused by another condition such as anxiety or diabetes. Genetics don’t have a part to play in its manifestation.

It usually onsets from the age of about 45, progresses fast and severity intensifies over time. Usually, when the underlying condition has been taken care of, the secondary RLS will also disappear.

Diseases or conditions that can lead to secondary RLS :

  • Diabetes
  • Iron deficiency
  • Kidney failure
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neuropathy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Other Triggers

Besides all the things listed above, there are also external factors that don’t necessarily cause restless leg syndrome, but it can definitely make it worse.

Medications, not limited to:

  • Antipsychotics
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Certain antidepressants
  • Certain Antihistamines
  • Lithium
  • Metoclopramide

Lifestyle, not limited to:

  • Anxiety
  • Being overweight
  • Excessive smoking, caffeine or alcohol
  • Lack of exercise
  • Stress


Restless leg syndrome will rob you of sleep and cause you unnecessary pain or discomfort if not attended to properly. It can even be frightening if you don’t yet know quite what is happening and why you are experiencing the symptoms. RLS can be hereditary or appear due to underlying conditions and the cause will determine the type of RLS you are diagnosed with. Certain lifestyle habits can contribute to worsening your symptoms.

If you’d like to know more about RLS, here’s two more articles from AnxietyPanda about the condition:

Natural Remedies for Restless Leg Syndrome – Give your Twitching Legs a break!

What to do for Restless Leg Syndrome – 5 Simple and Natural Solutions

Do you have any other ideas relating to what is the cause for restless leg syndrome that you wish to share with us? Please leave a comment below, we’d love to hear from you!

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